Less than a week after the official signing of the new N5 bypass was signed, safety concerns have emerged over the finer points of the plan.
One Longford Town Councillor has claimed present designs could lead to major traffic and health and safety problems because engineers have overlooked claims to install a link road from the N5 to a sewage treatment plant on the Camp Road.
Fianna Fail’s Michael Connellan said the decision would lead to major headaches for local residents living along the Demesne, Lisbrack and Rugby View areas of town unless National Roads Authority (NRA) designers address the issue.
“When you are on this by-pass you cannot get off it at this section of road to access the sewage treatment plant. It’s completely impossible. If you are bringing your trucks into the sewage treatment plant you have to go past the sewage treatment plant, go past McDonald’s and then go back down through a residential area,” he said.
A long time advocate to alleviate fears about heavy duty traffic using the Camp Road to access the plant, Cllr Connellan said it was not too late to revisit the plans which were officially signed just last week.
“We have expressed this concern at a Town Council level that these trucks are going through a residential area. At the moment there is very little we can do about it, but this is the prime opportunity for the NRA in conjucntion with Longford County Council to put a link road in that gives access to the sewage treatment plant.”
The Longford town solicitor said several residents and local constituents have contacted him in recent weeks about the new N5 and whether commercial vehicles would be taken off the Camp Road for good.
He said it was his understanding most locally based homeowners were unaware there were no plans to erect a link road, which he claimed would only serve to intensify what has gradually become a largely sensitive topic of debate.
“A truck on this road is too heavy for the infrastructure that is in place. It is absolutely imperative that the NRA provide a link road to the sewage treatment plant. We can’t miss the boat on this,” he said.
Cllr Connellan also raised doubts about a letter sent to local hauliers advising drivers not to cross the River Camlin Bridge because of structural concerns.
The letter dispatched to local businesses by the council earlier this month confirmed those fears, revealing the bridge to be structurally incapable “of carrying loads in excess of three tonne”.
In light of those revelations, Cllr Connellan said local representatives needed to be fully briefed on the enforced changes.
“I want to see a copy of that report, who carried it out and what the report was regarding the structural condition of the bridge because I would be concerned for our farmers who may carry trailers with cattle that might be in excess of three tonne,” he said.
A request seeking a response from Longford County Council in relation to both the N5 and Camlin Bridge concners were unreturned at the time of going to press on Tuesday afternoon.